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Most common cause of dropping your bike? (sorta long)

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by RaindancerAU, Nov 13, 2006.

  1. HI folks.

    Firstly I'd like to say it's been a delight to read these forums. Whether through moderation or just a good helpful community, the threads I have read have been free from the flame wars and trolling that make other forums such an effort to read.

    I was wondering, when learning to ride, what would be the most common situations that would cause one to drop their bike?

    I'll give some background to myself. I've never properly ridden a motorbike - only a moped and a Yamaha FZR or YZ something that was a liter or so in displacement around a block - I don't count that at all as it was one of the most terrifying experiences I've had.

    I've been mountain biking for the last year or so - done some commuting with the mountain bike in all conditions - on road in rush hour traffic as well.

    Driven a performance turbocharged car (mid 13 second quarter mile times) for the last 7 years. A few outings to Wakefield Park, a couple of blasts with other hi-po cars through the Royal National Park, Macquarie Pass => Kangaroo Valley => Nowra, Bells Line of Road to Bathurst, Putty Road to Singleton and Old Pacific Highway. Can double-declutch without thinking about it and used to be able to drift easily (haven't tried in about two years).

    I'm 30 years old, so I can go for the mature age license acquisition process, and I'm thinking that after I get my Ls, I'd like to buy one bike (Aprilia Pegaso Strada or Ducati Multistrada 620 are the ones I'm eying) and be done with it.

    Idea tantamount to disaster or could I maybe be ok?

    Sorry for long-winded post, just wanted to setup how different my situation is to perhaps the more typical learner / new rider.
  2. Low speed cornering is quite tricky when you first start riding. I found it much harder to turn at 10-20km/h than I did at 60-70. I've also heard that many people drop their bikes at servos... dunno why
  3. i've dropped my bike twice attempting U turns, but the K1 gixa has a shizzen turning circle, damper doesn't help
  4. i drop it most often trying to negotiate tight steep turns with mud holes in them.
  5. A long winded post requires a longwinded answer.

    Slow speed turns are generally the main reason. Throw in a sloping or undulating surface, makes it more difficult. I've even dropped my bike while stationary on a sloping surface. By the time my foot touched the ground the bike had too much momentum to stop it. However, these are generally non-injurious types of drops with perhap minor scratches to the bike.
    This will happen with almost any type of bike, particularly the heavier (+200kg) ones...except maybe cruisers.

    The other type of drop is usually more expensive. Both in cost and pain. Making a huge generalization, I'd suggest that most newbies and some of us oldies, have a problem with looking where the bike is going and not where they want the bike to go.
    eg Thinking they've overcooked a corner and looking at the tree/gravel/cliff and hit the brakes to avoid it. I think most of us have done this probably more than once. Some have got away without injury, some haven't. It is very hard to re-train your "survival instincts".
    This will happen with most types of bikes. There is a vid somewhere on the site of a cruiser running off the road, and his mate just about following him.

    Ask yourself, in your car, have I spun out anywhere, had a slide, overshot a corner, or simply ran off the road. A loss of control on a bike equals pain and suffering or even death, and expense,
    This will happen with most types of bikes.

    IMHO The biggest danger is impact with/from another vehicle.
    Ask yourself, Have I rear ended anyone? or been rear ended? These simple "acceptable" incidents in a cage, mean pain and expense to a biker.

    When I was riding in my 30s, I rode within my comfort zone. When I took up riding again in my mid-forties, I scared the s**t outa myself on a long sweeping downhill lefthand corner on a neutral throttle, by running wide over double whites, with a car coming towards me. The problem was I was out of my comfort zone, and didn't want to lean the bike, at that speed, any further. (Yes I did crank it down, I had to, braking was not an option.) It was then I decided I needed training to improve my skills, and to learn the (lean) limits of that bike.

    I think that sums up what you wanted to know.
  6. if you are in Victoria... tram tracks.. also, white lines on the road.. both slippery as he11.
  7. Forgetting to remove the disk-lock is always a good one :)

    Gravel has also been know to cause 'discomfort' for a few people on here from time to time.
  8. grabbing a handfull of front brake in panic situations seems to be a reocurring theme for myself :oops:
  9. Ditto!!!!
    Keep those disc-lock reminders ever visible. You don't get very far with em' on (personal experience there!).

    When I first got my bike (well, road bike) I was told U-turns are the most likely zone for dropping the bike, and I have to agree as more near-drops have happened for me in U-turns than any other facet of riding (especially U-turns while you are facing up hill).

    Oh, and when it's just had a light rain and you're parking your bike in a car park... oil slicks from parked cars and a light drizzle make the ground like an ice skating rink.
  10. Buy a Xena alarm/Disc Lock. As soon as you pick the bike up off the stand, if you forgot to take the lock off it will scream at you. It's impossible to ride off with it on.
  11. By 'dropping' I mean a slow speed situation when the bike basically falls down under its own weight - that's what I'll talk about here. I never actually dropped my bike, but I came close a couple of times.

    There was a time when I was doing a 90-degree turn around a blind corner of a narrow suburban street and I had to hit the brakes to give way to an approaching car. I was moving no faster than a pedestrian so I classify this situation as a near-drop... but when the handlebars are turned, it really doesn't take much at all to upset the bike! I think that is one common cause of drops. Anyhow, I managed to put my foot down on the ground and hold the bike and myself up.

    Another time I found myself having to do a U-turn on a narrow and very, very steep street; one mistake led to another, and before I knew it I was wedged sidewise with very high likely hood of dropping the bike if I made a wrong move! At least there was no traffic there, so I turned the engine off, took a couple of deep breaths and managed to back-paddle my way of out this one.

    Yet another time was a classic case when I came to a stop and tried to put my foot on the ground, only to find there was no ground where I expected to find it, because I stopped next to a major pothole! Still, my bike is relatively low and my legs relatively long, so I found the ground before we were leaning beyond the point of no return.

    There is a common thread in all of the above situations: the only thing that saved me the embarassment of picking myself and the bike off the street was the fact that I could get a solid foothold on the ground when I needed to! Many people will tell you that being able to flat-foot on your bike is not a requirement, and they are right - it isn't. But it sure as hell can come in handy!

    Which brings me to my point: both of the bikes you mentioned, Pegaso and Multistrada should be fine as far as power goes. But they are both pretty tall - better make sure you can reach the ground comfortably because they would be expensive to drop!
  12. I dropped my bike 2 times trying to do u-turn.

    I don't do that anymore, safer to do 3-point turn.
  13. Any slow work, including getting on and off the bike, on a sloping surface, particularly if it is wet or slippery. Embarassing but usually not very painful.

    Not reading the road right. Riding beyond your capabilities on an unknown road or in unknown conditions. Could be any reason. Tightening radius curve, rough surface, sand, dirt, wet leaves, bark, sticks, snake, goanna, wallaby, crashed car, tractor, etc. on your ride line. Particularly a problem early on in riding a bike. Practise, practise, but in a safe place.

    The problem is, as mentioned before, in a car you can often get away with it. Pull the wheel around harder, maybe slide a bit. Worst case, slide into something. Probably only financial damage. On a bike it is very hard to commit to turning in harder when you think you are already at your limit. I agree that looking where you are going, instead of where you want to be going, is a major part of this. I've had a couple of close calls in the last 9 weeks or so since getting back on the bike where I have simply had to hit the switch in my mind and look away from the danger, and onto the exit path and safety. One would have involved hitting at least one car, if not two or three, had I not done it.

    Think about where and what you are riding on. For example, yesterday I was zipping along the Eastern Fwy in the rain showers, lane swapping ect. no problem. Yet I turned on to the freeway very gingerly, crawling around the slightly off camber corner onto the entrance ramp, across the metal join in a bridge, and around a corner that obviously had a lot of oil and muck dropped on it from cars and trucks, which didn't get washed off very well in rain. It just got slippery.

    Your experience to date will help with traffic awareness and situation knowledge, balance and coordination (working all the controls) in the early stages. It wont help in the serious business of getting a road bike around a sweeping corner or tight twisties at a speed you didn't think was possible. Training and practise will help with that.

    By the way, I love my Multistrada. Very forgiving, and very capable. More capable than I am, so it is easy to ride within its limits. This is my first bike in 26 years, being a returning rider, and therefore in a high risk group. Very happy.
  14. Oh no. Very bad to rely on putting your leg down to save the bike. Well, at any speed of course, but even slow speed you can do serious damage to your knee, or jam your leg against the bike or something. Catching a 200Kg bike at 5Km/h, or even 2Km/h? Ouch. This is an instinct you need to stop. Hard to do, I know. I ain't perfect. I did a leg tripod at 40Km/h, very briefly, that may have saved the bike on a tight twisty corner, but probably not needed. It was automatic, but I pulled back as soon as I touched ground. No harm done. My brother has a bum knee from doing the same thing.

    Much better to learn slow riding (and other) skills, and practise regularly, so that you don't need to put your leg down. One of those skills is observation. Don't try to put your foot down in a pothole ! :roll: Another skill is to only use the rear brake when riding slow. cb250goespop, I bet you hit the front or both brakes when you nearly dropped it braking in the corner.

    The Multistrada is tall. This was a problem early on, so I lowered it a bit, but not much. I only get the balls of my feet down. It is no longer a problem. Awareness and improved skills eliminated any concerns. I will probably raise it again later. I do have sliders on the bike though. :cool:
  15. personally, i'm really bad at rolling bikes around in the garage. my most classic manoeuvre was dropping my bike on to my car :LOL:
  16. I think we may have a winner......... :shock:
  17. Wow thanks for all the replies :grin:

    In a car and on the mountain bike, I'm pretty good at looking at where I want to go - picked it up mainly when I learnt to drift.

    That said - I may just break my habit and look at the ground in front of my front wheel on my first few rides - did that on the mountain bike when I first started tackling trickier stuff (drop offs and tight downhill stuff).

    From the responses, I think I'll take the risk and buy one of the more expensive bikes I've been lusting over rather than a POS. I did the POS thing with my first car, I did not learn to drive properly until I got a car that reacted to my inputs correctly. In a car I've got a big bag of control tricks up my sleeve, going to be reading these forums thoroughly to find out what translates well to two wheels.

    All of my accidents in a car have been with my old POS, the last one occuring probably in 1996. Only one was at more than parking lot speed + my fault. I'd say my defensive driving skills are very high, nothing touched my performance car, despite the attempts :roll:

    Oh I'm about 5'9", and a little on the heavy side at almost 90kg, haven't sat on a Pegaso, but sat on a Multistrada 1000 a couple years back at the Motor Show and that seemed to fit me nicely. Will be going to the Bike show this weekend (which I discovered thanks to these forums :)) in Sydney to sit on a couple of bikes :)

    Mental note - take care on the slower / tighter stuff :)
  18. You will be fine...

    but yeah, the two most common dropping things that I have heard of happening are

    1. Low speed turning and using the front brake (if you are going really low speed, dont use the front brake....)
    2. Forgetting to put the side stand down OR/AND having your shoelace loop around your gear lever (this happens more often than you think).

    Someone mentioned tramlines in Melbourne, obviously not a problem for you in Syd, but yes... slippery as hell...
  19. Yeah I hear you, but that's where the judgement comes in. These situations, for me, on my bike, *were* possible to save, the evidence of which lies in the fact that I did in fact save them. When I had a more real accident at about 40km/h believe me I didn't try to stick my leg out... I went sliding nicely, separated from the bike and suffered no damage. Every situation is different and you just have to be there.

    While it is very true other skills should prevent us from getting into these situations, the fact is, we are not perfect. Or at least I am not, and that's why I'm glad I have that one additional tool in my toolbox. I feel very sorry for really short people who *have* to tip-toe on their bikes and hope for the best. I am fortunate to be tall enough so that I can reach the ground comfortably on many bikes, and I have long decided it is a luxury I would not willingly give up - I don't have to!